THE RELENTLESS SEA

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The Relentless Sea

by John Yeo

  Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim.
Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather.
Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation.
Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.

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  “I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.

   Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.
“I sincerely hope not!” she replied.

  Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.

The first of the dead floated in.

  Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look Billy.”

  Then another group of bodies were washed up on the shore. These were families, and and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.

The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors.
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty nine lives.
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 

PAIN THIEF

A Prompt Response for Inspiration Monday

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret

A Prompt response for Inspiration Monday

PAIN THIEF

by John Yeo

 It came upon Old Fred slowly, without any warning, just a gradual seepage of the atrocious, mind blowing pain he had learned to live with all his life. Fred was disturbed about this development,

 He looked down at his gnarled bent fingers and hands, ‘No change’ he thought. ‘I don’t like this, ‘I’m usually suffering sharp pains at this time of day. I think I’ll have to see the Doctor. These new drugs he has prescribed are actually making a difference.

 

 The next day, found Fred in the Doctor’s surgery waiting room, sitting next to a smartly dressed lady who couldn’t stop coughing all over the place.

 ‘Hmm’ thought Fred, ‘I hope I don’t catch anything nasty whilst I am sitting here!’

   Fred turned to the lady, smiled, and said;  “Can I offer you one of my special large soft tissues?”

        “Oh!  Thanks so much, I have just run out.” She replied, returning Fred’s smile,

Then she suddenly began moving and walking as if she had cramp in her legs.

    “Are you alright?” Asked Fred in a concerned voice.

   “Yes thanks! Ouch! I seem to have been struck with very sharp pains in my legs.” She replied.

      ‘That’s odd,” thought Fred, ‘my pains have virtually left me now.’

Fred’s name was the next to be flashed up on the screen and he walked straight in to see the Doctor. He suddenly realised he had left his stick behind, Fred had never walked without a stick for years.

     “Hallo Mr Jones, how can I help you? Oh dear, excuse me, I have a terrible pain in my arm. Sorry Mr Jones. What seems to be the trouble.”

     “Well Doctor, as you know, from my records I have suffered pain all my life! I have learned to live with it. Now it seems to be going fast, I miss the feelings of agony as the pain shoots through me. 

   Are you alright Doctor? I thought I recognised the effects of a spasm in you just now! Anyway, I think I am a victim of pain theft, your tablets have stolen a part of my life away.”

 

    “Yes! I’m fine now thanks. I can’t imagine where that pain came from. Let me get this straight, Mr Jones, you are here because you no longer have your pains. I find that unusual behaviour, I can’t help you get the pains back, I’m afraid. I am going to make an appointment for you to…

  Ouch! There’s, that strange pain again!…Sorry Mr Jones I want you to see our Practice Nurse, she is a pain specialist, who will assess your pain Then, if you think you are the victim of a pain thief, I will make an appointment for you to see a Psychologist. Ow! That was painful!  I will just ring for the Nurse to take a look at you straight away.”

 

    Nurse Joseph’s knocked on the door and bustled into the consulting room.

   “Ouch!  Would you take a look at Mr Jones, for me please and assess his pain levels?”

      “Certainly Doctor. Oh my God!” She exclaimed, rubbing her shoulder vigorously. “Come this way Mr Jones, Ouch! Excuse me, I have sudden shooting pains in my arms and shoulders.”

 They left the Doctor’s consulting room together.

 

  The Doctor suddenly drew an astonishing unbelievable conclusion. In all his career he had never encountered anything quite like what he was considering. His previous patient had come in with a severe cold, and suddenly developed painful legs. He had never had spasms of pain in his life before today,  then Nurse Joseph’s mysterious pains began as soon as she entered his office.

 

  Sometime later the Doctor called in a Neurologist and after confiding his astonishing suspicions to the Neurologist, he ordered Mr Jones to be placed in an isolation ward with barrier nursing.

  The irate Mr Jones asked for the Police to be called to investigate the mysterious theft of his pain.

 A Psychologist arrived and was soon doubled up in severe pain, when he was introduced to Mr Jones.

That settled the diagnosis of Infectious Pain Syndrome.

 

Fred was placed in an isolation unit, where he sadly died three days later, having decided everyone he had come into contact with, was a pain thief, making his life nothing but a miserable pain-free existence.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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A walk in the Grounds of Felbrigg Hall

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Felbrigg Hall ~ Image © Copyright ~ John and Margaret

 A WALK AROUND FELBRIGG HALL

by John Yeo

  The day started out cool and sunny, during our breakfast we decided to go for a walk together, after some discussion we decided to go to Felbrigg Hall once again. We have visited this National Trust property quite a few times over the years. Shortly after we settled into this windswept corner of North Norfolk, I remember a time when Margaret and I ventured to Felbrigg Hall at about 4.30am, to join a group to listen to the birdsong of the dawn chorus. We were not very lucky that day, very few birds were singing, but many cows were around feeding on the lush grass in the light of the dawn. I remember we were treated to a breakfast of egg and baked beans on toast, served with mugs of steaming hot tea, in the staff kitchen in the hall, before we returned home.

 Images © John and Margaret

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Image © John and Margaret

A close up of the South Front of Felbrigg Hall shows the inscription “Gloria Deo in Excelsis” that translates to “Glory to God in the highest,” and may relate to the satisfactory re-establishment of the Wyndhams at Felbrigg Hall.

A few years later, after we were settled in Norfolk, We sung with a church choir in the wonderful St Margaret’s church, that is built in the grounds of Felbrigg Hall, where there is much historical memorabilia relating to the Wyndham family, who purchased the Jacobean Hall from the original Felbrigg family, during the reign of Henry the eighth.
    We have attended the annual Chilli festival here twice, and we have enjoyed picnicking in the grounds. We have also visited the interior of the hall and admired the wonderful authentic period furniture and artefacts with beautiful paintings. We are great fans of the walled kitchen garden, where there is an inhabited Dove Cote, and chickens roam freely in the gardens. I am a great admirer of the allotments section in the middle of this garden, and there are two period-style greenhouses, that contain succulents and cacti with many more tender plants and flowers. The surrounding walls are covered by espalier fruit trees, mainly pears and apples, and of course we love the excellent display of seasonal flowers, always on display.
    Perhaps a highlight of these visits occurred in the Spring last year, when we visited the farm in Felbrigg hall grounds during the lambing season to watch the new-born lambs, just birthed, unsteadily tottering around in pens attached to the farm. I filmed some of these beautiful creatures taking their first taste of life in this world, with some nice photographs of the farm animals and wild birds around the farm.

    Images © John and Margaret

    We arrived at Felbrigg, to find the Hall and the gardens closed, but the car park was surprisingly full. The answer became clear when we began our walk, a large group of people dressed in warm clothing, with stout walking boots, some carrying walking sticks, approached the car park. We immediately came to the conclusion that this was an organised walking group, returning from a walk. The green fields of the estate stretched out before us, with a large flock of sheep feeding in a group, they seemed to be so close together, Margaret wondered if they were being rounded up by the farmer.

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret

 

Images © John and Margaret

We wandered around the front of this magnificent well preserved mansion and began taking photographs of the building and the surrounding autumnal woodland. We have never visited the Orangery building and we noticed the doors were wide open, but the whole area was fenced off and the gates were locked as it was closed to the public.
   We walked on around the back of the house and followed a path through the woods, where we photographed a nice little glade of snowdrops and some interesting trees. The bird life here is prolific and suddenly Margaret pointed to a large Pheasant that dashed for cover across the path in front of us. We continued along the path and I watched some squirrels diving for cover as we approached, there were numerous blackbirds and finches in the trees. We reached the end of the path to find we were fenced in, we retraced our steps and found a gate open leading into the gardens and made our way back to the car park through the gardens. We had walked at least a mile around the grounds and we were ready to return home for a welcome cup of tea and a rest, after an interesting walk.

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

VISTA

  I decided I would try to conjure up a piece of written work using a single word. I chose the word vista, and described a day at sea on a voyage aboard a sea-going ship.

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Image © John and Margaret

VISTA

by John Yeo

The watery view was endless, waves as far as the eye could see from the side of the ship to the far distant horizon or skyline. Where the sea meets the sky a natural black line separates the two. This is known as the water horizon. The foam-flecked waves were hypnotic, a cerulean blue that was the reflection of an almost cloudless sky on the wavy water below. Almost cloudless, except for the few straggling fluffy white clouds drifting freely, moving slowly as our ship sailed on.
Very few seabirds fly out this far, perhaps a few adventurous Gulls, always on the alert and on the hunt for food. These avian hunters usually fly out within reach of their colonies, especially during the breeding season. The closer to land our ship reaches the more birds are visible, following the vessel and congregating on the shore. On some very rare occasions a solitary migrating bird will land on board ship to rest and search for food or fresh water.
We encounter a number of other vessels on our way, mostly cargo ships piled high with containers. Much of the worlds goods for trade is now transported on board these huge ships. Sometimes we will encounter a small fishing vessel sailing out to follow the fishing routes, usually the closer to land the more small craft we will meet.
Suddenly there is a ripple as the waves seem to open naturally and a grey smooth, powerful, shiny, bottle-nosed dolphin, leaps to the surface from beneath the waves. Then another, and more, as a pair break the surface of the water together. This pod of dolphins numbers at least seven and their greyish blue glistening bodies shine as they leap above the surface of the sea, too fast and unpredictable to get a decent photograph.
Then the wind picks up and the waves get higher, rocking and rolling, testing the ships stabilisers. The beauty of the white-topped waves is clear, white foamy broiling waves with a dark grey reflection from the now stormy looking cloudy skies above.
As we travel through this almost endless vista of deep wavy water as far as the eye can see, the spray and bubbly spume from the now broiling almost stormy sea adds a dramatic frame to the hypnotic splendour of a very unforgiving picture. The mind seems to take flight into the depths beneath the surface, how many sunken ships from many centuries lie rusting and decaying beneath our modern vessel as we steam onwards to our destination? How many lives have been lost to this unmerciful, powerful sea?
The journey continues as the sun sinks beneath the distant horizon in a glorious orange red and golden sunset. This is a memorable beauty that can be preserved and the camera captures the magnificence for later re-living of this superb vista.
A silvery light then illuminates a much calmer sea as night falls, and a full moon lights up the night sky and the waves below, reflecting the moonbeams that now dominate the endless vista of the restless sea.

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Image © John and Margaret

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

MEANINGFUL MUSING ~ 5th September 2015

Words

Image from the Net

MEANINGFUL MUSING

by John Yeo

  Someone recently wrote on a wall somewhere, this anonymous piece of graffiti ~ “WORDS DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING TODAY”. The word anything was underlined to emphasise the lack of meaning contributed to life in general by words.
 My immediate and unequivocal response is that in my personal experience the exact opposite is true. I firmly believe, and I will always stand by my belief that WORDS MEAN EVERYTHING! Our way of life and culture is built on verbal communication, we cannot survive rationally without the use of the spoken or the written word. We must communicate to be able to share our lives and our ideas with one another and the easiest and most widely understood successful method of communication is through the use of words.
  Even the questionable graffiti message, “WORDS DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING TODAY ” is conveyed by the use of words.
Smoke signals, distant drums and semaphore flags all need words to interpret the message that is communicated.
 The many varieties of the media that is everywhere these days, is built and maintained through the use of words. Electronic devices such as computers, laptops, and mobile phones thrive by the messages conveyed in the form of words. Sadly social media would not be very sociable without the hot air that is generated through the use of words. Yes, the “chattering classes” are alive and well and maintained wholly through the use of words. Perhaps the graffiti artist had this enormous and growing verbal assault in mind, when he painted his work of art.
  I am afraid I haven’t got a clue who first uttered this sequence of words or the logic behind the statement. Perhaps someone was sadly let down by a smooth talking salesman, or they were badly hurt by a smooth-talking individual. Maybe they were very disillusioned by a series of concepts that gave them the impression through the use of words that heaven was just around the corner.
  There is an old saying that people can be, “Put in the promised land,” simply by the use of words. To be put in the promised land a person would be promised much, regardless of the outcome, building their hopes up by the use of words.

THE PROMISED LAND

   Billy was a native country boy who arrived in the city with a legacy of many thousands of pounds. Billy was bereaved when his father, a very wealthy farmer suddenly passed away after a massive heart attack. Billy was spending very heavily when he came to the attention of the entrepreneurs, Bob and Ben. They met in the bar of the palatial hotel that was Billy’s temporary home.
“Hi! Let me introduce myself, I’m Bob and this is my colleague, Ben. What would you like to drink?”
Billy was very impressed by the friendliness of these two prosperous looking men and he nodded.
“Thanks, I’ll have whatever you are having.”
“Three double scotches, please bartender, and have one yourself.” It was Ben who ordered the drinks and put them on a tab.
“We have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a very wealthy oilman from Texas and we are meeting up with him here to discuss some business, would you like to join us? We will have a few drinks and maybe play some poker, there is also a chance of us all making some very nice money from a huge deal.”
Just at that moment a tall man breezed up and proceeded to shake everyone’s hand, then in a very smooth American accent with a wide smile.
“Hi all! I’m Hiram, pleased to meet you!”
That night was a night Billy would live to remember for the rest of his life. Not only did he win a very large sum of money at cards, he was offered a share in a Texas oil well, that would make him a multi millionaire. Billy was flattered, but he asked for time to think the deal over. Billy parted from his very good new friends.
Bob nudged Ben after he had gone and mentioned the obvious skill and good luck that Billy had shown at cards.
“Bob! He cleaned-up. He won almost every hand and cleaned out Hiram!”
“Don’t worry Ben, he was just lucky there, we will get it all back when the deal is done.”
Billy was in his luxury room smiling and counting out his winnings. He was very good at cards after living through the long winter nights down on the farm.

  Now this is an example of words in the form of dialogue. Bob and Ben think they have put Billy in the promised land by promising him a fortune for the easy earning.
Billy has put Bob and Ben in the promised land by going along with everything they say without any intention of investing.
Born on a farm, and as sharp as the blade of a well-used scythe.

Perhaps, “WORDS DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING TODAY”, should read

“WORDS SOMETIMES DO NOT MEAN ANYTHING TODAY”

Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved